Office of Research & Development

Research tissue request procedures for investigators

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Biorepository Brain Bank

The Veterans Affairs Biorepository Brain Bank (VABBB) was established in 2006 to promote and support research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other illnesses that affect Veterans by collecting brain and spinal cord tissues, along with relevant clinical data, essential for such research. ALS researchers are invited to apply for tissue and data collected from Veterans with ALS.

For a current description of our tissue inventory click here.

Timeline and Review Process: Applications may be submitted at any time, and are reviewed monthly.

Application submission:

Regular Projects:

Principal investigators (PIs) who have the necessary preliminary data to support the use of greater numbers of specimens (regular project) should submit a request using the Tissue Request Form. In addition, the guidelines also provide information about numbers and types of specimens that may be requested for regular projects.

Pilot Projects:

Requests for access to tissue for pilot projects are limited to the amounts described in the VABBB Tissue Request Guidelines. Investigators who have pilot projects in which there is limited preliminary data should submit a request using the Tissue Request Form.

Investigators are highly encouraged to discuss their requests with the VABBB before submitting an application, by contacting Dr. Ian Robey at [520-792-1450x4436 or Ian.Robey@va.gov].

Additional Tissue Requests for Approved Projects

PIs that have already been approved for tissue may submit requests for additional samples on the same project by submitting the Tissue Request Short Form.

Tissue Request Forms may be requested from Dr. Ian Robey @ Ian.Robey@va.gov.

Justification of Tissue Requests: Applications should be carefully prepared to justify and fully describe the tissue requested. A statistical justification is required to assure that the proposed study is adequately powered to test the hypothesis in question. Sample size and power analyses should be considered before submitting a request. To conserve irreplaceable tissue the VABBB may require investigators to perform pilot studies to demonstrate feasibility before supplying greater numbers of specimens. In certain situations, if a request has been made for highly sought after tissue the VABBB may suggest alternative tissue. Investigators are highly encouraged to discuss their requests with the VABBB before submitting an application, by contacting Dr. Ian Robey at [520-792-1450x4436 or Ian.Robey@va.gov].

Review Process: All applications for access to tissue will be reviewed monthly by a panel of subject matter experts and the VABBB Executive Committee. Final decisions about access will be made on the basis of qualifications of the investigator, scientific merit of the proposed research utilizing the tissue, quantities of tissue requested, statistical issues and availability of tissue.

Material Transfer Agreements: Investigators will be required to submit signed Material Transfer Agreements (provided by the VABBB) before specimens are shipped for approved requests.

Progress Reports: Investigators receiving specimens will be required to submit progress reports for all approved projects on a yearly basis.

VA Specimen Research and Biobanking Program

The VA Specimen Research and Biobanking Program makes tissue samples available for research on illnesses in Veterans. Researchers can often learn more about illnesses in Veterans by using samples of tissue, blood, urine, and other fluids. These samples are often stored for future studies in biobanks. Biobanks store, process and give out human biological samples for important research studies. These samples are very valuable for research.

The VA has set up Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Gulf War Veterans Illness Brain Banks to study these illnesses because they can occur in Veterans. Click on the links below for more information.

For more information or to donate tissue:

Click here for the Gulf War Veterans Illness Brain Bank and the VA Biorepository Brain Bank for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

For information on VA specimen research and tissue banking:

Click here for VA specimen research and tissue banking.


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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.